We all know what it means. Someone burned their popcorn at 4 a.m. and smoked up the kitchen. The dust from the renovation of Mitchell is still settling and got in the detectors and it’s snowing outside. Someone was just pulling a sick, drunk practical joke and pulled the alarm for the sole purpose of making everyone mad. Or, lo and behold, there’s an actual fire.

We also know what we’re all supposed to do whenever the fire alarm goes off; get our butts out of the building quick-like.

“But it’s 4 a.m., it’s probably a false alarm anyway, and it’s cold outside!” you say.

Well, tough noogies.

The fire alarms are there for a reason. When they go off, common sense should tell you to get your butt out of the building because you don’t know whether that’s a real fire or not. Even at 4 a.m. Even when it’s freezing cold outside.

Because we really don’t know what’s going on.

Denison University has a policy regarding the evacuation of buildings when an alarm is sounded. Students who fail to do so are required to attend a fire safety class after the incident.

So next time you hear that loud, obnoxious beeping noise, don’t be a jerk to the people who try to ask you to leave the building. Don’t say that it’s a false alarm and that you shouldn’t have to leave. Put on your jackets, wrap up in your towels and get yourselves outside. If there’s an actual fire, you’ll thank the people who hustle you out of the building for your own safety.

We know it’s cold. We know it might be late at night. We know that sometimes it’s inconvenient to be forced to exit a building for any reason. We’d much rather write a story about an evacuation due to a fire alarm than a casualty due to a fire.